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Monthly Archives: November 2017

  • Minimize Your Risk in Confined Spaces

    People working in confined spaces can face life-threatening hazards including toxic substances, explosions, and asphyxiation.

    Construction workers often perform tasks in confined spaces. OSHA defines confined spaces as: work areas that (1) are large enough for an employee to enter, (2) have limited means of entry or exit, and (3) are not designed for continuous occupancy. These spaces can present physical and atmospheric hazards that can be prevented if addressed prior to entering the space to perform work.

    OSHA standards help prevent construction workers from being hurt or killed by eliminating and isolating hazards in confined spaces at construction sites. Here are Confined Spaces FAQ from OSHA to assist employers in protecting their workers while working in and around confined spaces in construction.

    If you or your employees are going to be working in confined spaces, EnviroTech has many Air Monitoring & Gas Detection tools to make sure you are in a safe working environment. EnviroTech can also help you with calibrating equipment to make sure you are following OSHA Regulations.

    To find more information on Federal OSHA standards as well as for your state, click here.

    If you are not sure which Air Monitoring Tool is best for your confined space, please contact us, our environmental engineers and geologists would be happy to discuss your options to make sure you minimize risk and keep employees healthy and safe.

  • Stormwater Sampling Season

    Here comes the rain! The rain season has officially started, and that means more storm event monitoring on construction sites.  Are you ready?

    The EPA Construction General Permit requires turbidity and pH measurements in the field, so you will need to have a pH meter and turbidity meter that are working and in good condition. If you are looking for a good Turbidity Meter - check out the Hanna 98703 Turbidity Meter.

    Both the pH and turbidity meters will need to be calibrated before being used to ensure measurements are accurate. The state Department of Health requires surface-water treatment plant operators to calibrate them at least as often as recommended by the manufacturer. If your last calibration was more than three months ago, it’s probably time for a check-up.

    If you need help with calibration, or finding the right equipment for the job, EnviroTech can help!

    If you are in need of groundwater instruments, there are several manufacturers available for you to choose from. In our 30+ years in the field we have found that MyronL Company continues to produce high quality and exceptionally durable field instrumentation. The Ultrapen is of the most durable water quality meters and is setting the standard in easy to use handheld instrumentation.

    For more resources you can find the EPA’s guide to Developing Your Storm Water Prevention Pollution Plan and EnviroTech's specifications on Groundwater Sampling.

  • Why Calibrate?

    The Importance of Instrument Calibration

    Calibrating an instrument is all about establishing a baseline value, or a reference point within the electronics of the instrument. This is done so that all subsequent readings can relate to a known set value. Unless if the instrument has a reference point then all the readings, or measurements, have very little value.

    A good example is a simple pH meter that measures acidity and alkalinity along a scale of 1 to 14 points, the lowest value being more acid - the highest value being more alkaline. The value of 7 is referred to as neutral, as in pure water. Want a more scientific explanation of what exactly pH is….?

    Generally, buffers solutions of known values of pH 4, 7 or 10 are used to calibrate a pH meter. The meter is set, or adjusted against a known value during calibration. This allows the pH meter to have reference point so that the readings taken can relate to a set reliable value. If you took a pH reading of pool water without calibrating your instrument, you would have no confidence the value was representative of the true pH.

    Moreover, in the environmental consulting industry there several meters that require calibration prior to use; some are photoionization meters (PID) for measuring Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) in the air, multi-meters to measure groundwater parameters or a water level meter to measure the depth of water in well. Yes; a simple water level meter must be properly calibrated in the form of having reliable tape markings to within 1/100th of an inch.

    Imagine if you rented a water level meter that has been incorrectly spliced and the increments are missing a few feet. This means every measurement you take in the field is inaccurate by a few feet. If your project is trying to evaluate the subsurface groundwater gradient direction to determine where a leaking underground storage tank plume is heading and your water tape is off a few feet, then you have a big problem to reconcile.  If you never checked your rented tape before it was returned then you may never know why the measurements are false and ultimately your end hydro geologic study could be compromised.  This is one example why calibrating an instrument or meter is important.

    In fact most environmental consultants establish guidelines for their clients when acquiring groundwater, soil, or air monitoring measurements when conducting operations in the field. These guidelines are often referenced in a document entitled Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). A staple in the industry SOP is to calibrate an instrument in the field prior to use to best establish a true value. This establishes that the conditions in the field are reflected in the calibration as representative of actual field conditions allowing for a more accurate reading.

    This is why when renting any piece of equipment to have to assure it has been proper calibrated and has a calibration certificate included. Many regulators require this and may want to see it onsite.

    EnviroTech has been in business since 1987 and our qualified staff have been to many manufacturers’ schools to learn the trade of proper calibration. You can be assured when renting equipment from EnviroTech it is properly calibrated and you’ll receive a calibration certificate.

    We have video tutorials on calibrating the MiniRAE 3000 Calibration, MultiRAE Lite Calibration, YSI-556 Calibration, and Hanna 991300 Calibration. Let us know if you have other calibration questions, or would like to request a new calibration video for water level meters or other instruments, we will add it to the cue!

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